As one half of directing duo Matt and Oz, Villines and his creative partner Osmany Rodriguez collaborated on several popular shorts for SNL, including the acclaimed “Sad Mouse” starring Bruno Mars — see tweet below from former SNL head writer Seth Meyers — “Uber for Jen” and “(Do It On My) Twin Bed.” The latter used childhood photographs of SNL castmembers.
SNL co-head writer Bryan Tucker posted a remembrance on social media:
Hailing from Tulsa, OK, Villines attended the University of Oklahoma, followed by the Los Angeles Film School, where he met Rodriguez. His first directing work came with Rodriguez on Adult Swim’s Super Deluxe comedy video website in 2006. After two years on Super Deluxe, the duo were brought on to Funny or Die, where from 2009-12 they directed some of the site’s most-shared videos, as well as several segments on the 2010-11 HBO series Funny or Die Presents. Among their best known work from this period is “Bridges on Bridges with Beau Bridges,” starring Beau Bridges; a re-creation of Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” co-starring Brown, Mike Tyson, and Wayne Brady; and “Charlie Sheen’s Winning Recipes” with the former Two and a Half Men star. More of his work can be seen on the Matt & Oz Vimeo profile.
Villines and Rodriguez joined SNL in 2012. Hired to direct shorts after the Lonely Island trio departed, the Matt and Oz pair helped create the new aesthetic for SNL‘s original comedy shorts and continued working together even after Villines’s 2014 diagnosis. Last year the duo completed filming on their debut feature, the comedy Brother In Laws starring SNL‘s Taran Killem and Bobby Moynigan, which is in postproduction. Osmany still works at SNL.
Villines is survived by his wife, Linda; his parents and his sister. The family will hold a private remembrance for him this weekend.
As news spread, tributes to Villines came in from his SNL colleagues: